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I so wish the web was there when we were struggling to make ends meet in college and university. It was a constant battle of the conscience between spending on the date, or ‘squandering’ money on things like books and other learning objects. The library wasn’t much help as it often resembled the California gold rush with ten heads competing for one book.
The reason for my ire is that we didn’t have websites which told us where to find (rent or buy) cheap college textbooks. But today’s generation just has to type in a URL and hey presto, there are more than a dozen sites plying cheap textbooks for sale or rent.
I am on a slow burn, but let’s take a look at ten websites where you can get college textbooks for cheap.
Note: Most of these sites are US only.
Start with the large search box that helps you trawl through 5 million textbooks. BookRenter offers you no-questions asked book return program plus free shipping. The range of categories cover almost all subjects that are taught in colleges (don’t forget to click the little ‘More’ links). BookRenter gives you different rental rates depending on the borrowing periods. You can also buy used books from the BookRenter Basement. What’s more you can take notes (use highlighters for instance) on the books you borrow from BookRenter. You can return in-store at any of the affiliated locations or ship your return with a pre-paid shipping label. (Read Directory mention)
Chegg is very similar to the previous book rental website when it comes to book return guarantees, shipping speed, and even social service. Chegg is a selling point for your own books as well as textbook rentals at low prices. The differentiator is that Chegg offers course reviews and grade distributions as well as homework help for a course you select. Along with first hand reviews of a course, you also get a detailed schedule of the books you need for it. Comparing the list price and the rental, Chegg offers significant savings…some go up to 90%. (Read Directory mention)
This too is a similar site with a very similar service. Textbooks.com shows that when it comes to cheap textbooks for purchase or rent, no site is too many as it almost mirrors the service offerings of the above two sites. The book rental site has a referral program that lets you earn $5 for each friend you refer to the site for a book rental or purchase. The site offers free shipping on orders above $25.
You can sell and ship your used textbooks for free via the buyback program. Most of it goes back into the textbook rental program on eCampus. You can also choose to buy a book at a low-cost (with savings upto 90%). Some books also have digital copies (eTextbooks) which again come in two versions – online version and an offline viewing version. When it comes to returning your rented textbooks, shipping is free for all orders over $59 and rental return shipping is always free.
This book rental site comes with its own smartphone apps. Campus Books also offers in-store pickup of books along with a very handy local search feature. The iPhone and Android apps use GPS to locate one near you, and you can the site search to get to libraries or retails shops for the book you want. Campus Books also searches a catalog of 8 million books for the best deals available. If you want to rent textbooks, use the rental comparison engine which compares results from ten book rental companies at once.
BookByte is a simpler textbook buying and selling service. The Guaranteed Buyback service is appealing because at the end of the term you are not obliged to return the book. You can sell your book back to BookByte for a lower purchase price and a 10% rebate when you return the textbook. Also, if your Guaranteed Buyback order totals over $49.00 then your shipping is free.
Bigwords.com is a comparative search engine that compares books across bookstores and brings you the lowest one on new and used textbooks. You can also use it to search for student loans, DVDs, music, and games.
Using Direct textbook to hunt for a new or used textbook is a three step process. Simply search for a book, browse through the search results, and then visit any of the 200 stores that the site taps to buy or rent your textbook. The textbook search engine sources online book retail sites like Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and some of the others we cover here. If you are planning to sell your used textbook, the site lets you check the best buyback price at 25+ stores.
The unique feature of the college textbook book site is definitely the monthly free giveaway. Above that, the site is based on trade…you can list your textbooks here (the ones you have and a wishlist of the ones you want) and use it to trade and exchange textbooks with others. Check out the long list of participating colleges on the site.
The name of the website gives away the reason why I included it here on the list. You can buy, rent, and sell college textbooks here. When you sell books to this website, they will donate 1/2 % above what they offer you to one of the charitable organizations they support. Donated books help support global literacy partners through their Books OverseasTM program.
These textbook websites are just tip of the knowledge iceberg. Check out two previous posts too which give a few more options for cheap college textbooks:
Where are you heading? Let us know which book rental website is your favorite just for the user experience. And don’t forget that you’ll need a backpack to hold all those new books!